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Jennette Mullaney
Photo by Friends of the High LineDespite the steely gray sky, we relished the opportunity to get our (gloved) hands dirty during Wednesday's all-staff Spring Cutback.

We’ve completed our second week of Spring Cutback, reaching the halfway point in our effort to shear back more than 100,000 plants along the High Line. As we trim the dried shrubs and grasses of our winter garden, we make room for the green growth of spring.

See more photos from this past week below.

Author: 
Jennette Mullaney
Photo by Liz LigonThe sight of all these bright green buckets dotting our planting beds means winter is on its way out. Photo by Liz Ligon

On Monday we began to trim back the dried grasses and striking seed heads that added beauty and texture to our gardens this long winter. This annual horticultural endeavor, called Spring Cutback, takes four weeks and involves our entire staff, as well as hundreds of volunteers. It's hard work, but there's no better way to greet spring than plant-by-plant on a park in the sky, New York City humming in the background.

See more photos from the first week of 2014 Spring Cutback below.

Author: 
Jennette Mullaney
Photo by Barry MungerDo your worst, weather forecast. These petite blooms are a sure sign that spring is near. Photo by Barry Munger
 

After enduring months of bitter cold and snow, we're delighted by any sign of spring. But of all the pretty plants that herald winter's end, the crocus is our favorite. The prolific member of the Iris family grows throughout the High Line, so you're more likely to come across a crocus in our park this spring than you are a daffodil or snowdrop. And we're utterly charmed by these bold little flowers that bloom while snowstorms loom in the forecast ; they seem to leap out of the earth ready to declare that spring has finally, truly arrived.

EnlargePhoto by Mike Tschappat

It's time that these pint-sized plants received an outsize welcome. We'll be sharing crocus images on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the dramatic hashtag #CrocusWatch2014, and we've even created a Pinterest board devoted to these lovely blooms. Whether you spot a crocus on the High Line or in your own backyard, we invite you to join the fun and use #CrocusWatch2014 when sharing your pictures.

Author: 
Jennette Mullaney
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Photo by Gulnara SamoilovaLia and Michael De Feo radiate joy on their wedding day. Photo by Gulnara Samoilova

The High Line plays host to all kinds of romantic moments – engagements, first dates, weddings, even more engagements – and it's easy to become desensitized to the tales of love blossoming in our park in the sky. But the story of Michael and Lia De Feo has managed to charm even our most jaded coworkers. (Admittedly, we're a pretty mushy bunch.)

Author: 
Jennette Mullaney
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Photo by Liz LigonOur new Executive Director, Jenny Gersten, grew up minutes from the High Line – her childhood apartment building is visible in the background of this picture. Photo by Liz Ligon

Although it's been only a few weeks since Jenny Gersten joined Friends of the High Line as our new Executive Director, we feel like this dynamic New York City native is already part of the family.

Jenny grew up in Greenwich Village, just minutes from the structure we now know as the High Line. But the High Line of her childhood was not yet a park in the sky with kids programs, blooming flowers, and mouthwatering ice-cream sandwiches. We sat down with the former Artistic Director of the Williamstown Theatre to learn more about her vision for our growing organization.

Author: 
Jennette Mullaney

Thank you for making 2013 an incredible year for the High Line.

We've gathered together some of our favorite images and stories from this extraordinary year. We hope you enjoy them. From all of us at Friends of the High Line, we wish you the very best in 2014.

Author: 
Jennette Mullaney
High Line Co-Founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond accept the Vincent Scully PrizeHigh Line Co-Founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond accept the Vincent Scully Prize at Washington D.C.'s National Building Museum. Photo by Emily Clack Photography

On September 30, Friends of the High Line Co-Founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond were awarded the prestigious Vincent Scully Prize by the National Building Museum for their work in creating our park in the sky. Joshua and Robert were the fifteenth recipients of the prize, which recognizes exemplary scholarship, criticism, or practice in architecture, historic preservation, or urban design.

As part of the award ceremony, Joshua and Robert gave an original talk, "Harnessing Friction," in which they recall their efforts to create a new kind of public space in the High Line. During the speech, they explore the many qualities that make the High Line unique. "Generally, in a park you seek to escape the city," says Joshua. "The High Line was designed to celebrate its urban condition and the built environment that surrounds it," he adds. Below, view a video of speech, which also includes an opening tribute by last year's recipient – the Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger – and a question-and-answer session with Joshua and Robert.

There are many choice quotes from the ceremony, but perhaps the most inspiring comes from someone who was present only in spirit. Joshua and Robert conclude "Harnessing Friction" with a quote by the great urbanist Jane Jacobs, herself a winner of Vincent Scully Prize: "Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody only because, and only when, they are created by everybody."

Author: 
Jennette Mullaney
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We have exciting news to share with you. After completing an extensive search, it is our great pleasure to introduce Jenny Gersten, who will be joining Friends of the High Line as its Executive Director in January. Jenny will replace Robert Hammond, who earlier this year announced his plans to step down from the Executive Director position at the end of 2013. Joshua David will remain with Friends of the High Line as its President and will be working closely with Jenny in her role as Executive Director.

We are incredibly fortunate to have found an accomplished leader in Jenny, who has a proven track record of success in program development, non-profit management, and fundraising for arts and culture organizations. As the Artistic Director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, where she has worked since 1996, Jenny helped create and oversee the organization’s long-range strategic plan and $7 million endowment fund. She also managed a vast professional development and training program for more than 200 apprentices, interns, and professional staff. Before the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Jenny served as the Associate Producer of The Public Theater in New York City, where she produced six Shakespeare in the Park productions.

Author: 
Jennette Mullaney
Photo by Liz LigonFreshkills Park Administrator Eloise Hirsh spoke eloquently about the former-landfill turned oasis. "Like the High Line, it is a park of the 21st century," she said of Freshkills. Photo by Liz Ligon

How do we transform a once-notorious landfill into a beautiful New York City park?

On Monday, September 23, we hosted a discussion on the metamorphosis of Staten Island's Fresh Kills Landfill – once the largest landfill in the world – into Freshkills Park, a 2,200-acre oasis. James Corner of James Corner Field Operations and Eloise Hirsh of the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation spoke about the incredible changes they've been making to this site since the landfill closed in 2001.

James Corner Field Operations, the lead on the High Line's design team, is also leading the design of Freshkills Park. Corner discussed the unique challenges he's faced on this project, as well as the park's many idiosyncrasies. "If Freshkills is to be a living, and dynamic, and changing, and growing landscape, in a sense it never has a finished state," he remarked.

As the administrator of Freshkills Park, Hirsh has also witnessed the former landfill's about-face, and spoke eloquently of the site's transformation. "It is the most elegant testimony to the strength of nature that you can possibly imagine," said Hirsh. She also underscored the park's commitment to sustainability, describing their use of animal husbandry and green building.

Watch our full-length video of the talk below. For more images of the landfill-turned-park, see our recent photo essay.

Author: 
Jennette Mullaney
Photo by Steven SeveringhausThose eyes! Gilbert & George's Waking keeps a close watch on the High Line. Photo by Steven Severinghaus

Waking (1984), the prismatic High Line Billboard by artists Gilbert & George, draws the eye like a magnet. However, unlike most billboards vying for your gaze on any given day in New York City, this one gazes back.

Such a captivating work of art was bound to inspire photographers, and Waking began to appear frequently in our Flickr pool. We found these shots by Steven Severinghaus particularly striking.

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